Robert Woolsey, KCAW - Sitka

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Robert Woolsey is a reporter at KCAW in Sitka.

Sitka police are defending their actions in the arrest of an 18-year-old man last year, who was tasered multiple times in his jail cell. A Sitka teacher over the weekend posted a video showing the arrest of a Native high school student. Download Audio

A huge performance ensemble from Moscow is traveling to Sitka this week for the Alaska Day Festival — or not. The offer to send 68 artists, support personnel, and camera crew to Sitka came about only three weeks ago, along with diplomatic communication to the local historical society.

One of Alaska’s most well-known writers is finally quitting his day job. John Straley has published nine novels, a book of poetry, numerous essays, and served as the state’s Writer Laureate. But Straley built his reputation in Alaskan letters as a moonlighter. For the last 31 years he’s been drawing a paycheck as a full-time criminal defense investigator. He retired in August.

Sitka has spent almost a half-million dollars since August on emergency cleanup, and is counting on having most of that reimbursed by the state.

One month after a deadly landslide struck in Sitka, a group of scientists and agency officials are starting the complicated task of learning what happened. The Geo Task Force has been meeting informally at the Sitka Sound Science Center. The center’s director, Lisa Busch, believes these gatherings are an important first step in understanding the area’s geophysical hazards.

Search crews have recovered the final victim of the Aug. 18 Sitka landslide. The body of 62-year-old William Stortz was found Tuesday afternoon. Download Audio

Sitka Fire Chief Dave Miller reports that a team of cadaver dogs from Juneau led searchers to a sweatshirt on the west side of the slide, and subsequently to the body. Miller would not confirm the identity except to say, "It's one of the boys."

As crews continue to cautiously work through debris searching for the three victims of Tuesday’s deadly landslide in Sitka, it’s clear that the event could have been much worse. There are many homes below and to either side of the slide, and there were two other people directly in its path who escaped. Download Audio

The landslides that struck Sitka early Tuesday morning are the latest in a series of similar events that started in 2011. Although these slides are triggered by a combination of wind and rainfall, forecasters believe it’s too early to correlate these incidents with changing weather patterns -- but that may change.

Three people are missing after heavy rain triggered a series of landslides in Sitka Tuesday morning. Governor Bill Walker plans to be in the city Wednesday to visit the affected areas.

Those missing were all likely involved in the construction of several new homes on Kramer Avenue. The slide in that area destroyed one of the new homes entirely, and damaged another.
The EM cameras on the Magia, Steven Rhoads’ 55-foot longliner, are mounted on an outrigger boom. “I would pay to have electronic monitoring every day, rather than be selected to carry a human observer,” Rhoads told the council. (KCAW photo/Robert Woolsey)

Smaller boats in Alaska’s offshore fisheries may no longer have to carry human observers in the future, if a plan to deploy cameras proves feasible. At its Sitka meeting this month, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council gave the green light to an inter-agency effort to develop Electronic Monitoring. The council would like to see cameras in action within three years. Download Audio:

Four people are safe after their fishing tender sank off Cape Fairweather early Wednesday morning. A helicopter from Air Station Sitka hoisted the crew of the 80-foot tender, just as the vessel rolled and sank in six-foot seas near Lituya Bay. Download Audio:

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council will likely recommend some significant changes to the current version of the Magnuson-Stevens Act -- but not during its meeting in Sitka. Council members have concerns over amendments that would exempt fisheries decisions from the National Environmental Policy Act, and open the door to potentially biased science. Download Audio:

The Alaska Board of Fisheries closed some waters near Angoon to purse seining in order to improve subsistence harvests, in action over the weekend. They also shot down the use of unmanned aircraft to aid in salmon fishing. Download Audio

Some king salmon reared in Southeast Alaska are traveling farther north as ocean temperatures rise. This news was delivered to the Alaska Board of Fisheries as their spring meeting opened in Sitka Monday afternoon. Download Audio

Sitka Community Hospital has an interim CEO. The hospital board named Chief Nursing Officer Raine Clarke to the post at a special meeting on Monday. The term of Clarke’s service is not known at the moment. What is known, however, is that former CEO Jeff Comer will not be receiving anything more than his paycheck for his work through last Friday, as Sitka’s embattled hospital struggles to balance its books and find direction.

The appointment of Michelle Putz wasn’t all the assembly drama Friday night. A scheduled discussion on hospital issues with CEO Jeff Comer was sidetracked when Comer didn’t appear. Instead, he sent hospital board president Celeste Tydingco to read a statement.

Sitka Community Hospital will get a $1-million infusion of cash from the Sitka assembly, in order to meet short-term expenses. A long-term solution for the hospital’s cash woes is still on the horizon. Download Audio

The herring spawn-on-kelp fishery in Hoonah Sound will remain closed in the 2015 season - for the second year in a row. The Alaska Department of Fish & Game announced the closure this week after forecasts for the area predicted herring numbers far below the threshold required for commercial harvest. Download Audio